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Copper Country remembers longtime sheriff

Given that he was the longest-serving sheriff in Michigan at the time of his death, it is hard to find someone in the Copper Country whose life was not touched by Houghton County Sheriff Brian “Slim” McLean. First elected to office in 1996, he served the community well over the years.

As news broke of his passing Monday night, we posted our updated story on Facebook, prompting several people to respond in the comment section.

“RIP Slim,” said Kathleen Caspary. “What a great loss to our community!”

“Condolences to all the McLean family,” said Kelly ElRite Fox. “A fine person who will be remembered by many as a great guy!”

Former Daily Mining Gazette editor Jane Nordberg weighed in on the type of man she believed McLean to be.

“That is a loss,” she said. “He had a way of telling you you were wrong without condescending. Patient and almost always smiling.”

Others chimed in.

“So sad,” said April Johnson. “Was a very amazing man.”

Several focused on how he performed his duties.

“I feel very bad for him,” said John Coakley. “Very kind and lenient sheriff. He will be missed.”

“What a good man,” said Tom Romps.

Others focused on his family.

“Condolences to Sheriff McLean’s family, friends and coworkers,” said Donna Destrampe. “You will be missed by all who knew you. Thank you for your years of service, may you Rest In Peace.”

“What a shame,” said Faye Ann. “Very nice man. Prayers to his family and friends. May Officer McLean R.I.P.”

Perhaps the comment that best described McLean’s jovial personality was one from Phyllis Godell Pokela. She described McLean through the eyes of a former Marquette area police officer.

“Lorie Schaefer Robinette, I sat next to Sheriff McLean at your mom’s funeral lunch,” she said. “We had the nicest conversation. One of the agents at Re/Max was feeling really bad this morning. He told Marty that he and McLean always shared a room at conferences. The agent is retired from law enforcement in Marquette. This is sad indeed.”

McLean will be fondly remembered for his efforts, his personality, and the way he treated the community as a whole. He believed in the best in people.

We at the Daily Mining Gazette already miss him.

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